How to Grow Roses Successfully by Glenn Duggan

A lot of work is involved in growing roses successfully but they are grown over most of the world. There are 320 true rose species most of which are deciduous and they have been designated various groupings.

Hybrid Tea which can be susceptible to disease, Floribunda little scent but hardy, Grandiflora taller than Hybrid Tea, English Rose repeat flowering, scented and disease resistant, Shrub Roses some of which are repeat flowering and make good hedges, Rambling are vigorous but not repeat flowering, and Climbing which are repeat flowering.

Plants can be purchased in pots or as bare rooted plants, the latter being much cheaper. Potted plants can be put into the ground at any time but bare rooted should be planted from October to allow them to establish before new growth appears. When planting any roses ensure that the graft is just above soil level.

To grow roses successfully the PH of the soil should be 6 to 6.5 although some roses will actually grow in sand. Roses require six hours of daylight and few will grow in very shady spots. Plants should be given plenty of space as they won’t do well if too close together. They need a lot of water and must not be allowed to dry out. If grown in pots then a saucer should be placed underneath to prevent the water from running straight through. Plants growing in the garden should be fed twice each year with the food watered in and a mulch placed around the plants. If growing in pots a fortnightly liquid feed should be used. Any growth from below the point where the rose was grafted to a rootstock should be removed.

Plants should be checked daily for insect pests such as greenfly and for black spot or rust. The pests can be cleared using fingers, natural predators or sprays. In the case of Black Spot or Rust the diseased leaves should be removed and destroyed not composted.

For the first two years pruning should be kept to an absolute minimum with just dead flowers removed to promote new flowers. In the third and subsequent years plants can be pruned to keep in shape ensuring the secateurs are very sharp. Cuts should be made above an outward facing bud at a downwards angle away from the bud.

New plants can be obtained from cuttings taken in late spring or early summer using healthy stems. Take cuttings about a foot long cutting above a bud at the top and below a bud at the bottom. Leave one leaf at the top and remove all other leaves. A hormone rooting powder can be used but place several cuttings in a pot of gritty compost or in a trench containing lots of grit. Water well and place the pot in a shaded spot keeping the compost moist. Once rooted the cuttings can be potted on usually by the following summer.

If you want to make a multicoloured cut rose then split the stem of the rose and place each of the splits into a different colour food dye. The flower will absorb the moisture and the colouring.